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Comment: Copyright 2008, 1st edition, hardcover, no dust jacket. Slight shelf/use wears. Text pages are clean.
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30 Years of Laughs & Lasagna: The Life & Times of a Fat, Furry Legend! (Garfield) Hardcover – October 28, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—Davis calls Garfield "a human in a catsuit," and the sarcastic feline's wry, egotistical observations and love of lasagna, donuts, and naps are a winning and enduring formula. Garfield's popularity has not waned over the years, and this may be because the jokes, and the drawing style, have barely changed. Readers will find plenty of slapstick humor and visual gags in this collection to entertain them. Throughout the book, Davis offers occasional insights about his career and the development of Garfield. They are written in simple language, and are seemingly aimed at the cat's young fans, who will certainly check this out.—Lisa Goldstein, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This judicious selection from Garfield’s three-decade run well demonstrates why it’s the world’s most popular comic strip. Based on cultural knowledge TV has made universal as well as on elements of human-animal, man-woman, and cat-dog relations that have been milked for laughs since time immemorial, Davis’ gags are about as surefire as you can get. Cast down the middle, never deviating to the brainy left or the raunchy right (though note the outrageous double entendre on page 57), they reliably bowl over most, sometimes all of the readers who get in their way. Of course, comics cognoscenti seldom say anything good about Garfield, complaining that Davis doesn’t use the medium creatively. Such carpers could probably do with more from Davis like the wordless Sunday strips on pages 71, 75, 133, and 165, which possess an Ernie Kovacsian charm. They should also glom the handful of details from the strips that are enlarged to fill whole pages and wind up looking like outtakes from the once-vilified, now-reverenced Nancy. Is Jim Davis the Ernie Bushmiller of tomorrow? --Ray Olson
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 13 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Series: Garfield
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1 edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345503791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345503794
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Davis was born July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana, and raised on a small farm with his parents, James and Betty Davis, and his younger brother, Dave (Doc). Like most farms, the barnyard had its share of stray cats; about 25 at one time, by Jim's estimation. As a child, he suffered serious bouts with asthma and was often bedridden. Forced inside, away from regular farm chores, he whiled away the hours drawing pictures.

In college, he studied art and business before going to work for TUMBLEWEEDS creator, Tom Ryan. There, he learned the skills and discipline necessary to become a syndicated cartoonist and began his own strip, GNORM GNAT. When he tried to sell the strip to a newspaper syndicate he was told, "It's funny, but bugs? Who can relate to a bug?" After five years of GNORM, Davis crushed the bug strip idea and tried a new tact, studying the comics pages closely. He noticed there were a lot of successful strips about dogs, but none about cats! Combining his wry wit with the art skills he had honed since childhood, GARFIELD, a fat, lazy, lasagna-loving, cynical cat was born. Davis says Garfield is a composite of all the cats he remembered from his childhood, rolled into one feisty orange fur ball. Garfield was named after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis.

The strip debuted on June 19, 1978 in 41 U.S. newspapers. Several months after the launch, the Chicago Sun-Times cancelled GARFIELD. Over 1300 angry readers demanded that GARFIELD be reinstated. It was, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today, GARFIELD is read in over 2400 newspapers by 200 million people. Guinness World Records, named GARFIELD "The Most Widely Syndicated Comic Strip in the World." Davis's peers at the National Cartoonist Society honored him with Best Humor Strip (1981 and 1985), the Elzie Segar Award (1990), and the coveted Reuben Award (1990), the top award presented to a cartoonist by NCS members. Garfield quickly became a sensation in the licensing world, too, inspiring Davis to form his own company to take care of Garfield business concerns. Paws, Inc., founded in 1981, manages the worldwide rights for the famous fat cat, and Davis serves as President.

Garfield's fame spilled over to television and Davis penned eleven primetime specials for CBS-TV. He received ten Emmy nominations and four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Animated Program. Movies were next, and Twentieth Century Fox turned out Garfield: The Movie ('04), and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties ('06). Davis also wrote the original screenplays and executive produced three animated features for DVD: Garfield Gets Real ('07), Garfield's Fun Fest ('08), and Garfield's Pet Force ('09). Also in 2009, "The Garfield Show" made its debut on Cartoon Network. Today, the CGI animated cartoon is in its fourth season and is seen in 131 countries, including China, where CCTV broadcasts the show daily.
Davis's philanthropy has been directed at educational and environmental projects. He founded The Professor Garfield Foundation in cooperation with Ball State University, to support children's literacy. A free educational web site www.professorgarfield.org is the cornerstone of the Foundation's work to date. Davis spearheaded reforestation, prairie and wetlands restorations, and built the world's first all natural waste water plant for commercial use. He was awarded the National Arbor Day Foundation's Good Steward and Special Projects Award, and the Indiana Wildlife Federations' Conservationist of the Year Award.
Davis spends his leisure time golfing, gardening, fishing, and enjoying his wife, children, and grandchildren. In a nod to Garfield's friends in the comic strip, Davis also keeps one cat, Nermal, and a dog, Pooky.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have only two favorite comic strips: Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes. I go for Calvin & Hobbes for political, social, and economic commentary (and also for Calvin's many imaginary adventures). And I go for Garfield for pure slapstick and ironic humor. Garfield never dwelves into politics, religion, social science, or the current American economy (it did only a few times back in the 70's and 80's).

I admire the fat orange cat, who is really an anti-heroic anti-cat. He drinks coffee, he never chases mice, he eats Pizza and Lasagna, he watches TV all day, and now he has fun with a cellphone and the Internet. But he does eat cat food, hates dogs, sing on a fence, play with yarn, etc. And let's not forget the rest of the cast. Dim-witted Odie and nerdy Jon Arbuckle (who now has Liz as a girlfriend) accompany Garfield throughout almost every daily strip. Liz, Pooky, Nermal, Arlene, Irma, the mail carrier, and Jon's farm family make up the rest of the cast.

I know the comics from 2001 to present are weaker compared to the golden age of Garfield comics (the 80's and early 90's), but they still make me smile every time. And this book, "Garfield: 30 Years of Laughs & Lasagna" should be with every Garfield fan (whether die-hard or modest). It sums up the history of the comic's publication, the creation of major characters, Jim Davis's favorite strips, and more. But what happens when Garfield is no more? I doubt that this would end in a few years, but I'll still remember the pure delight that I've had with the fat orange cat and his many diverse companions.
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Format: Hardcover
My son got this book as a gift from grandpa this Christmas and is thrilled with it. It can't even begin to cover everything in the history of the famous fat cat, but it has enough of the early and classic strips to earn a spot on any Garfield lover's bookshelf. Chapters are arranged by decades; memorable strips include the first Garfield comic ever published, Garfield eating straight from the lasagna pan, "Banzai!", and a visit with Doc Boy, Jon's not-too-swift brother out on the farm. This hardcover edition has a full-color cover and additional dustjacket, perfect for gift-giving. Jim Davis puts his 30 favorite garfield strips at the end of the book; the foreword is by Dean Young, creator of "Blondie".
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Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe that Garfield is 30 years old this year. As a long time appreciator of the cat who has come to exemplify the phrase "Couch Cat", such retrospectives are must reads and must haves.

30 Years of Laugh and Lasagna is just that, without the bib and messy food. Davis and company break the strip down decade by decade and give prime examples why Garfield is so popular. I still laugh at the Bad potato strip even though it is so darn silly! Simple, and obvious, but that is comic strip humor at its' best. Inbetween the humor, Davis writes short descriptions of the decades and his history. I never knew that he was Tom Ryans' assistant on Tumbleweeds, another strip I enjoy.

The icing on the cake, the chocolate on the cookie, the peanut butter on the jam, is the 30 faves that Davis includes on the end. Davis is no one dimensional cartoonist, clearly, he even includes a dentist joke (feed the teeth!).

You'll laugh until your lasagnas cooked.

Tim Lasiuta
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Garfield since I was a little kid. This book brings back classics I recognize, and new ones I haven't had a chance to follow (local newspapers don't seem to carry Garfield anymore -- I even thought Jim Davis had stopped drawing Garfield!).

Quality book, a must have for Garfield fans.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Big Garfield fan, I grew up enjoying Jim Davis humor. This collection I was hoping, would be a nice package full of classic Garfield humor, but alas... I read this book in less than an hour, many pages contained only one strip, and of the little that was there I was disappointed. I thought that the book was going to be along the lines of the Calivn and Hobbs collection that I recently purchased. Far to little content for the price, very little of which was the best of Garfield as I remember. I would avoid this book, and am surprised at the amount of positive reviews. So disappointed in fact that this book will not take up room on my book shelf for long, destined for the second hand book store I'm afraid. If you're looking for a big collection of Jim Davis work I would suggest looking elsewhere.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm at an age where I can legitimately claim the title of 'old grouch'.
This is, until I start reading this book.
I mostly preform the Garfield's more modern look. But the wonderful,
surly humor is the same.
In my mind, humor helps to make the world go around. And Garfield
is one of the reasons, it's spinning with a smile.

Morris C
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Format: Hardcover
For fans of newspaper comics, book collections and "treasuries" are an invaluable resource, allowing us to read an archived collection of our favorite comic without having to dig through years' worth of newspapers or cross our fingers that the cartoonist has his strips online somewhere. And as an added bonus, some of these treasuries contain valuable extra information -- explanations and back stories behind various strips, how the strip was created and developed over time, bonus information on favorite characters, etc. Gary Larson gave us a phenomenal anniversary collection with The PreHistory of The Far Side:: A 10th Anniversary Exhibit, which is chock-full of preliminary sketches, backstory, and never-before-published cartoons; Bill Watterson, likewise, published an insightful and valuable (if someone spare and preachy) anniversary collection with The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book. I love both of these comics, and these books are an invaluable part of my book collection.

Where does Garfield's 30th anniversary treasury fall on the list? Well, I would put it a step below Larson's "Prehistory," but a step above Watterson's "Tenth Anniversary." While this book isn't nearly as full of "extras" as Larson's treasury, it does something Watterson's treasury didn't -- chronicle the development behind the comic, and track how it evolved over the years.

"Garfield" seems to be a "love it or hate it" sort of comic, and seems to have gathered quite a hate following on the Internet, but I quite enjoy it.
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